The leftovers have been polished off, and the eating, partying and shopping is underway.
The women of Bel-Aire Baptist Church in Gulfport, Miss., created a cookbook they hope will find its way under the Christmas trees of novice and longtime cooks alike. Commemorating the church's founding in 1965, "Bel-Aire Baptist Celebrates 50 Years," a spiral-bound hardcover book, features members and family recipes. These recipes have been served in Mississippi kitchens and in the church fellowship hall for years.
Church cookbooks are "go-to" cookbooks for any cook. The recipes are usually easy and are made for good eating.
Divided into eight sections, the book includes appetizers and beverages, soups and salads, vegetables and side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, desserts, cookies and candy and "this and that." On the title page of each section, there is room to list favorite recipes from that category.
The book, published by Morris Press Cookbooks, is truly a cook's friend with its pages of cooking times, how to buy fresh vegetables and fruits, measurements and substitutions, equivalency chart, how to cook for a crowd, cooking terms, microwave hints and quick fixes. Two pages are dedicated to napkin folding. Cost is $10. For mail orders, check out the church website, belairebaptist.org.
Here is a sampling of the recipes that would work well for Hanukkah or Christmas gatherings:
4 packages cherry-flavored gelatin
3 cups sugar
4 cups hot water
6 packages strawberry unsweetened drink mix
1 small bottle almond extract
2 tall cans pineapple juice
2 cans frozen lemonade, plus water
Sprite or 7-UP, or other lemon-lime soft drink
Dissolve gelatin and sugar in the hot water. Mix everything together except the lemon-lime drink. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add lemon-lime drink.
-- Recipe by Susan Rutledge
2 to 3 cans corn with red and green peppers
1 can chopped green chilies
2 cups finely shredded cheese, your choice
1 to 1- 1/2 cups sour cream
1 to 1- 1/2 cups mayonnaise
Tony Chachere's seasoning to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve with chips.
-- Recipe by Sue Walker
BALSAMIC AND PARMESAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
1 large head cauliflower (8 cups, 1-inch-thick slices) florets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper. Roast on a large rimmed baking sheet until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.
-- Recipe by Dee Stevens
1/2 cup nuts
1 package frozen rolls (Rhodes brand)
1 (3-ounce) box butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
Spray Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle nuts in bottom of the pan. Arrange frozen rolls (about 12 to 15) in pan. Mix dry pudding, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over rolls. Cut butter in small pieces and place on top of rolls. Cover loosely and let sit overnight to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn onto serving plate when you remove from oven. Great for breakfast or dessert.
-- Recipe by Ella Fortenberry
Pralines for the holidays
Rosie Grace-Lewis of Biloxi, Miss., lost her praline recipe and asked readers for help. Three readers responded with a variety of pralines from which to choose.
"This is a good praline recipe my mother used to make," Stephanie Rosetti said.
She offers the main recipe and two variations.
MAPLE PECAN PRALINES
1- 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup pecans
Combine sugar, syrup and milk in a heavy saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cook to 230 degrees (very soft ball). Add butter and cook to 236 degrees (soft ball). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes without stirring.
Add nuts and stir until slightly thick and syrup begins to look cloudy.
Drop from a tablespoon in patties on waxed paper. Let stand until cold. Makes 10-12 patties.
Decrease maple syrup to1/4 cup. Substitute hickory nuts for pecans.
Substitute 1- 1/2 cups shredded coconut for pecans.
-- Submitted by Stephanie Rosetti from the "Woman's Home Companion Cook Book," published in 1947.
"Honeymooning in New Orleans many years ago, I discovered Aunt Sally and her pralines. I tried many recipes until I found this one that seems most similar to hers," Ann Smith of Ocean Springs said. "Real butter and evaporated milk made the difference."
Smith also says a candy thermometer is a must-have for making pralines.
NEW ORLEANS-STYLE PRALINES
1- 1/2 cup sugar
1- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar and milk in pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. Continue to cook over a medium heat stirring frequently until mixture reaches 228 degrees. Add butter and pecans, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 236 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture just begins to thicken. Working rapidly, drop by spoonful onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm and cool. This batch makes between 2 to 3 dozen, depending on the size of spoon used. -- Submitted by Ann Smith
Your favorite holiday dish?
Readers, now that Thanksgiving is a memory, here come Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's. The year is speeding along. Please share your favorite holiday dish with fellow readers. This can be party food, main dish, dessert or whatever your favorite is. Hurry, time's a-wasting.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.